Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Memories of Turret

Gayle Christison on Tractor at Turret with dog, Scrappy

Last fall, when John and I drove up road 175, the first place I was anxious to see was Turret. Turret is a ghost town west of Cameron Mountain. It became a town later in 1897 when the Vivandiere and Gold Bug mines were in operation. My great-grandfather, Lewis Christison, worked as a miner at Turret in the 1930's, long past its glory days.

When I was little, my parents loved to go four-wheeling and poke around ghost towns. Turret was a favorite place to camp at. My favorite part of going to Turret was sitting on the old tractor with iron wheels and pretending to drive. This prepared me for my later wheat-farming days. But, I never drove that old tractor through a fence!

I was surprised to find new cabins built in Turret. Several for sale. Of course, I fell in love with one. Maybe someday, when I am rich and famous!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Black Mountain

Black Mountain is northeast of Salida in the southern part of South Park. The IM or Mulock Ranch was on the west side of Black Mountain (this photo is taken from the southeast). Ira Mulock and his three sons, Ira Parker, Edson, and Peter ran around 5,000 head of cattle in South Park in 1883.Ernest Christison was convicted of stealing IM cattle. Ed Watkins was arrested for stealing IM cattle, then hanged in Canon City by a group of cattlemen, presumably the Mulocks and others. Nobody was ever arrested or tried for his lynching.
This morning I received a great New Year's present when I checked my e-mail and found an e-mail from a descendent of Ira Mulock! I'm looking forward to learning more about this family.

Looking For Descendants

In my research, several descendants of key players in the cattle war have surfaced. Their stories and information are adding layers and depth to the book. I've decided to give a list of families who were involved in the cattle war and ask their descendants or relatives to contact me -
These are families who lived in Chaffee, Fremont and Park Counties in 1883-1884:

Ernest Christison
J.B. Cameron
Robert Cameron
Nancy Cameron Coffee Casteel
Jesse Stingley
Nettie Cameron Stingley
Ben Jameson
Frank Reed
Henry Van Kleeck
Ira Mulock
Ira Parker Mulock
Edson Mulock
William Gribble
T. Witcher
Gregory Gross
W.R. Smith

Gayle's Update

Happy New Year!

I kind of left you hanging since I went to the Women Writing The West Conference. I had a great time visiting with the other writers and getting to know them. It is great to be a part of this organization. I was elected Secretary for 2007-2008 and I'm working to help with the marketing of WWW. Next year's conference is in San Antonio and I can't wait to go!

The best part of the conference was meeting with an editor who is very excited about my book project on Ernest and the cattle rustling. He can't commit to the book until the manuscript is complete, but he is very encouraging. So, in the past few months I've been working on improving my writing and organizing the book. And I've kept on researching. Amazing facts are turning up-- facts that keep me questioning and searching for more answers. I've learned more about Ed Watkins' background and more about his wife. With recent information, I've realized there is still a lot of buried treasure for me to dig up. I'm grateful for what keeps coming to the surface and for what I discover when I dig deeper.

Here's to 2008 -- the year of a completed manuscript, I pray!